We had come very far since we set out on our journey, but there was still a long way to go, my father told me, before he too had to stop and rest because he was so tired. I remember now how he sat on the ground, a way back, and said that he would catch up with us later. He was very tired, but he never caught up with the caravan.
When we first set out on our journey everyone was on foot, but little by little people began to be tired of walking all the time, and so when the caravan stopped at night to rest, there were always some people working late, while the others were asleep, trying to invent machines to make us travel faster. Some of these machines were very strange.
I remember, one morning, I was walking along next to my father who was holding my hand [this was before my father laid down on the ground] when a man came speeding past us on a strange looking machine. It was made of a piece of board with two little wheels tied at each end, and above the front wheel there was a vertical cross sticking out of the board. The man held the cross with both hands to guide the machine, one of his feet resting on the board, and with the other foot he pushed himself along the ground. He was literally scooting along, and this way he could move faster than the rest of us. I thought it was quite an amazing machine. I don't remember what he called his machine. It had a funny name. But it didn't work too well, or at least not for long, because we caught up with the old man, he was old now, way up the road. He was sitting at the side of the road next to his broken machine.
We stopped to talk to him for a moment. I remember that very clearly, because it was then that my father said that he felt tired and that he wanted to rest for a while. He told me to go on ahead, that he would catch up with us later. I never saw him again. I don't remember if my mother was still with us.
This was a long time ago. I just kept going with the rest of the caravan. One morning we arrived at the foot of a mountain. A very high mountain. It took a long time to climb to the top. On the other side we saw a valley. It was not a valley like you usually see. I mean green, with a river running in the middle, and tall trees along the stream. No, it was a valley of rocks and sand, a barren valley. It was not a beautiful green valley, but still many people cried with joy, saying that we had finally arrived, and they began to set up camp. Others insisted that this could not be the place, and decided to go on.
I stayed in the valley with those who thought we had arrived. We slept in holes in the ground or little caves in the rocks. Oh! yes, now I remember the name of that valley. There was a sign on top of the mountain we had climbed with an arrow pointing downward towards the valley. The sign said, The Valley.
When I awoke the morning after we arrived, and came out of my little hole in the ground, I discovered that only a few people had remained here. Many had left during the night to catch up with the rest of the caravan. I should mention that by then I was alone. I mean, my mother, my father, all my uncles and aunts, and all the rest of my family had stopped along the way to rest. Not that I was stronger than they were, but perhaps more curious. More tenacious also. I really wanted to know where the caravan was going. I suppose the people who left the valley during the night also thought that this was not the right place. Those who stayed said they were fools to go on, that it was hopeless, and that surely it was better to stay here, at least for a while in order to think and reach a decision about the rest of the journey. Something had to happen.
So we settled down and managed at best we could to organize ourselves. To survive. We had our own ideas about the world, about people, and soon we developed a view on all things, a view quite different than that of the people who left with the caravan. We were convinced that they did not know what they were doing or where they were going, and that by now they must all be lost in the wilderness.
One day, when some of us were exploring our valley, we found, hidden behind a huge boulder surrounded by fog, a construction. It was not a house, it had no doors, no windows. If I had known then what a pyramid was, I would have said that it looked like a pyramid. It pointed towards the sky. That old dwelling had the shape of a pyramid. I say old, but it was even more than old, if one can imagine something older than old. It looked as if it had been there since time began, time immemorial, long before the caravan set out on its journey.
At first we were hesitant to approach this structure, but when we finally dared, we discovered that it was impossible to go inside. As I said, there were no doors, no windows. Nothing. Just the walls. We were not even sure what these walls were made of. Stone or wood, or some other material unknown to us. We threw rocks at these walls, but nothing happened, nothing opened. In vain we tried all day to find a way to enter, but it was hopeless. And yet we all had a feeling that there was something or someone inside. It was a feeling no one could explain, but all of us could not have been mistaken. Night was galloping over the mountain in the East [excuse the pathetic metaphor, but that's how I remember the night coming at us over the mountain, full speed] and we had to return to our camp. It was too scary to stay here.
Someone shouted that we'd better get on our way before it's too late, and we all agreed. We began to walk away from the pyramid, but just before it was out of sight, we heard a huge laugh, I mean really huge, as if thousands of small mouths were laughing together inside the mouth of a giant. We all stood petrified for a long time, not knowing if we should run away from this place, or try once more to find out what was inside. Someone said, I am sure there is somebody in there, there is life in there. It made sense since only life can laugh. And someone else answered, yes, there is life, but we shall never find out about it, we shall never know its mystery. And someone else cried out, I don't want to find out about it, I don't want to know, I am scared. Then we all cried at once that we were scared, and we began to run as fast as we could.
It was very late into the night when we arrived at our camp, but we only stopped there long enough to gather our things. Without having even consulted each other, we knew it was best to leave immediately. Perhaps, we were the fools for having stayed in this valley. We should try now to catch up with the rest of the caravan.
When the sun reappeared over the mountain in the East, we were almost out of the valley. We hurried on our way, never looking behind us.